School districts, tutoring centers look to boost student learning after decline in test scores

SPOKANE, Wash. — The nation’s latest report card shows historic learning setbacks for children, caused by the pandemic.

Across the country, fourth and eighth graders fell behind in reading and saw their largest-ever declines in math scores.

From 2019 to now, eighth grade math scores fell by eight points, and we’re seeing a similar trend in Washington. Eighth graders’ scores are also down ten points in math.

The Central Valley School District is rolling out a new curriculum to make it easier for kids to catch up.

“A little of time each day, it will do a pre-assessment and it will say where were gaps of learning for that child,” said Tim Notenboom, associate superintendent for Central Valley School District. “If they do a little bit of that each day, what it does is start closing the gaps on those skill deficits while we get to expose them to the new learning.”

A local tutoring center is also seeing a similar learning challenge in math. They say parents play a big role in boosting their children’s learning, and they need to be patient.

“Practice, practice, practice,” said Sam Song, instructor and owner of Kumon in East Spokane. “Follow small steps. You are adding one, three tomorrow, adding six the next day. ”

Song says the improvement will take time. “When we grow trees, it takes years. The same thing with your child,” Song said.

And most importantly, children need encouragement.

“Always find what he/she did correctly and focus on that even simple progress, and say good job,” said Song.

READ: Spokane Public Schools trying new ways to improve students’ reading test scores

READ: Nation’s report card: Massive drop in math scores, slide in reading linked to COVID disruption